The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
A Heritage of Hospitality
Built in 1882, the Tudor-style Hotel Roanoke is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a member of the International Association of Conference Centers. The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center is located in the Gainsboro neighborhood of Roanoke, Virginia.
The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center today features 329 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and a 63,000- square-foot, high-tech conference center. It is a joint project of Hotel Roanoke LLC, the City of Roanoke and Virginia Tech. In the beginning, Roanoke was a little town named Big Lick when enterprising railroad magnate Frederick J. Kimball chose it as the site of a railroad juncture and a major city. After Kimball combined two of his railroads into the Norfolk and Western Railroad, he built his vision of a comprehensive community with the Hotel Roanoke as its grand centerpiece. Travelers coming to the city or breaking a tiring rail journey made the Hotel Roanoke their haven.
Built in a wheat field on a little hill, the Hotel Roanoke began as a rambling wooden structure of less than three dozen rooms. As the city grew, the railroad consistently provided resources for hotel additions, remodeling and furnishings to maintain the Hotel's reputation for excellence. Even in the Depression year of 1931, the railroad spent $225,000 for a wing with 75 rooms, a 60-car garage and such "modern" amenities as circulating ice water, movable telephones and electric fans. By then the Hotel's "Queen Anne" appearance had evolved into something Tudorean, the finishing touches of which were added in the major alterations of 1937-38, when Hotel Roanoke acquired its distinctive facade and entrance. Added too were new public rooms, most of which today's guests will recognize. The history of the Hotel has been carefully preserved over the years.